THE DEATH OF DRACULA
A Love Story



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ACT ONE
Mina Murray has just arrived in Sangrov Abbey in Wallachia (near Transylvania) in the summer of 1895, when she has been summoned by Sister Agatha because her fiancÚ, Jonathan Harker, has been found half-naked and raving in the nearby woods. Sister Agatha tells Mina he has been talking about a vampire, Count Dracula, whom the sister dismisses as a superstition of the Romanian people. She does not tell Mina that Jonathan also has been having clearly erotic dreams involving women, but Mina learns this soon enough when she visits Jonathan and overhears his dream. Surreptitiously reading his journal, we flashback to Jonathan's first encounter with Count Dracula in his castle.

The count, 70-ish, has summoned Jonathan to help him legally secure a residence in England. The old man recounts the glorious day when his ancestor (really himself), Vlad Dracul, was anointed by the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope to defend Christianity from the infidel Turks. At a knights' tournament, Vlad was saved by a golden buckle tossed to him by a princess. Later that night, Princess Wilhelmina visits his bedchamber and seduces Vlad Dracul - he who prides himself on his independence.

As Mina awakens with the journal in her lap, we see that it is she who has dreamed this sexual encounter. We sense how she chafes under the restraints of Victorian society in London. When Jonathan asks her to marry him there and not to wait until they return to England, she hesitates, afraid the union will not be one of complete sharing of all intimacies.

Jonathan at first refuses to tell Mina what happened to him, but he does allow her to continue to read his journal, if she promises never to speak of what happened.

In a sexually-charged scene, Jonathan indulges himself with two female vampires. Suddenly Count Dracula bursts in and throws the vampires out.

Mina, aroused by this journal entry, now senses that Jonathan will perhaps not be as repressed sexually as she had feared and consents to marry him. As the wedding ceremony takes place, Dracula simultaneously embarks for London.

ACT TWO
London, some three months later. Mina, her best friend Lucy Westerna, Jonathan, the rich American Quincey Morris, and the scientist Dr. Jack Seward are attending a performance of "Hedda Gabler" at the Lyceum Theatre. Mina seems as restless as Hedda and testily argues with Jonathan about the play. Lucy makes peace as Count Dracula, now a handsome 35, shows up at their box. Mina threatens to reveal who he is, but Dracula quotes her own arguments about Hedda's deserved freedom back to her, and she decides to lie to Jonathan about whom she has been talking with.

That night, in her room in Dr. Seward's asylum, Mina tells Lucy how unhappy she is in her marriage, how her passion goes unrequited. Lucy counters that men don't want women passionate, and it is best just to "go along." Mina cries out that she needs someone to touch her. Lucy does so, then leaves. Dracula enters through a window and bites Mina.

Soon after, Dr. Seward, using the studies of his mentor, Van Helsing, explains to Jonathan what has happened to Mina. Jonathan is unpersuaded, until he witnesses the erotic dream Mina is now having. Then he swears revenge, but Lucy, now complicit with the Count, throws out the protective garlic and Dracula once again enters Mina's bedroom.

They talk, and Mina learns that Dracula cannot see himself in a mirror because he has no soul. He longs to die, but is trapped in his mortality. Mina comes to believe that if she learns why Vlad Dracul was cursed, she might be able to help free him, but Dracula refuses to speak of what happened with him and Wilhelmina. Mina, however, remembering her dream in Transylvania, moves to Dracula and undoes the golden buckle he always wears. This time, she offers herself to him.

Two days later, alone with Jonathan, Mina is terrified of her attraction to Dracula and begs for his help. Jonathan responds passionately, but when Mina becomes too aroused, retreats in fear. Dracula appears, and the men attempt to capture him. Mina tries to defend him, and finally Dracula changes into a bat and flies away while Mina begs him not to leave her.

ACT THREE
Back in Wallachia, the men have pursued Dracula by hypnotizing Mina and monitoring her contacts with him. Mina, however, pretends to be asleep and sends the men the longer road to Dracula's castle. Dracula has told her a shortcut and she takes it. After she leaves, Sister Agatha discovers her plan and goes to tell the men.

Alone with Dracula at his castle, Mina declares that she does not want to be damned forever. She forces Dracula to confess that he murdered Princess Wilhelmina not because she betrayed him, but because he loved her so much he could forgive even her betrayal. Vlad Dracula could not live with another having such control over him. Mina tells him he must ask God for forgiveness-and he must let Mina control him by biting him! Dracula refuses, but Mina persists. They struggle, and Dracula finally surrenders control to her.

Just then, the pursuers burst in. Mina tries to stop them, but they shoot Dracula. No bullet has ever been able to harm him before, but this time, miraculously, he bleeds. Can it be that he is saved by finally being able to die? Dracula breaks a wine bottle and looks into the jagged piece of glass. Jonathan shoots him, but it does not matter. Dracula has seen his reflection in the glass. He dies in Mina's arms, knowing her love has saved him at last.

 

Cast: 3 females, 4 males.

Place/Time: Transylvania and England 1895, and Transylvania, 1431.

Settings: Dracula's Castle, Rooms in Sangrov Abbey, Theatre Box in London.

 

Commissioned by The Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia. Unproduced.

Notes: This is a dramatic rendering of the Dracula story, not a spoof, told from the woman's point of view. It treats Dracula as a real person, the historical Vlad the Impaler.

Two "standard" Dracula stage characters, Van Helsing and Renfield, do not appear in this version. This is a love story.